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5 wineries to visit in Prince Edward County

Posted by Derek Flack / June 11, 2013

Prince Edward County WineriesThe Prince Edward County wine region in Ontario reminds me a little of that old ad campaign that touted pork as the other white meat. This is the other wine region to the more popular Niagara Peninsula, which tends to get more attention based on its greater size and proximity to Toronto. But as local wine enthusiasts have discovered over the last few years (some sooner than others), Prince Edward County is the home of some passionate winemakers who are turning out some of the province's best Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

Located to the south of Belleville, it's just close enough for day trips, but given the area's ample inns and bed and breakfast options — and that fact that you'll want to try a lot of wine — it's better-suited to weekend visits. Here are five wineries worth checking out in Prince Edward County.

Norman Hardie
Probably the best known producer in the region, Norman Hardie proved that the Prince Edward County could produce world class Pinot Noir in the mid 2000s. Now that lots and lots of people know this, it's gotten progressively more difficult to get your hands on the stuff, but surely one of the best ways is to make the trip to the winery. While there, you can also order some surprisingly good pizza to enjoy on the quaint patio that overlooks the vineyard. 1152 Greer Road.

Huff Estates
Huff Estates is a winery that breaks with the Burgundian-drive of the region by offering a wider selection of varietals, including award-winning Pinot Gris. That said, the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are still excellent. Aside from the wines, one of the big draws here is the inn. When staying on the property, you can feel free to drink your face off without the worry about driving. After all, who really wants to spit when tasting wine. Sommeliers I'll give a pass to, everyone else is ordered to swallow what's in the glass. 2274 County Rd.1

Hinterland Wine Company
When planning a winery road trip, it's a good idea to avoid hitting up producers who all focus on the same thing. Leave that to the wine nerds. If paying your first visit to Prince Edward County, check out the fantastic sparking wines at Hinterland. That's all they make here, and they're some of the province's best. Note well, the winery is only open by appointment Monday to Friday. 1258 Closson Road.

The Old Third
This is a winery in a barn that reeks of charm (note: that sentence does not). The Old Third is what I might call a traditional Prince Edward County producer in that the focus is on Pinot Noir — and only Pinot Noir. It's not cheap at $42 a bottle, but if you were to pick a wine that was demonstrative of the region and its potential, this would be a strong candidate for a blue ribbon. By appointment only. 251 Closson Road.

Exultet Estates
Housed in what was once a cheese-making operation, this is the ver definition of a boutique winery with very low production numbers and very high quality standards. The specialties are Pinot and Chardonnay, but there's also some intriguing dessert wines on offer as well. These are some of the most expensive wines on the list, but certainly competitive with what decent Burgundy will run you at the LCBO — and that's the league these wines play in. 1106-1112 Royal Road.

For a full list of wineries in the region, check out the Prince Edward County Winegrowers Association.

Photo by Pat Anderson

Thanks to the New Listerine UltraClean for sponsoring our wine-soaked adventures.

Discussion

10 Comments

bongopix / June 11, 2013 at 04:36 pm
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This is a great feature! Prince Edward County is so pretty, and yes the wine of course is also great. As mentioned, a little overlooked due to Niagara's prominence. I stayed at a B & B there near a place called "Lake on the Mountain". Very picturesque. Well worth a visit, and there's also a lot more to do in addition to the wine. Some great swimming at Sandbanks, etc. Cheers!
Deb / June 11, 2013 at 05:04 pm
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Don't forget Sandbanks Estates Winery! They make some tasty wines. PEC has gorgeous scenery including a lavender farm, countless B&Bs, terrific restaurants. Don't miss Bloomfield and Picton!
The County! / June 11, 2013 at 05:40 pm
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Have family in Picton and its so amazing.

Been going there every summer since 1989 and it never gets tiresome.

Lily / June 11, 2013 at 10:46 pm
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Chadseys Carins is an absolutely beautiful winery with wine to match! Not often listed in these lists but definitely a place to see!
Marisa / June 12, 2013 at 08:28 am
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My bf and I went here last summer for the day and had a blast! I would include Waupoos Estates Winery and also the County Cide Company (makers of Waupoos Cider), where I recommend that you try the Ice Cider. At the Cider Company, they also offered up some BBQ lunch options among other foods to eat while on their beautiful patio, overlooking the orchard.
James / June 12, 2013 at 10:17 am
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My top 5 (from a grape grower in PEC)
1. Norm Hardie. Unbelievable quality that improves with each vintage.
2. Closson Chase. Stunning, elegant Chardonnay
3. Rosehall Run. Best price/value in the County. Try County Chardonnay for $21.95
4. Karlo Estates. Wine is innovative and improving in quality. Best tasting room experience in the County
5. Exultet. Worth the trip (but too reliant on new oak occasionally). Try the white Vidal/Pinot Noir blend.
Bonus: Half Moon Bay. Wine made with heart & a bit of luck. The '07 Pinot Noir is a must if you like complexity.
Fred / June 13, 2013 at 09:46 am
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Top 5.
1. Karlo Estates - Great place, great people, great wines. Only winery where I liked every wine. Check Trip Advisor. Go late afternoon as it turns into a bit of a wine bar. Great fun!
2. Hinterland - Higher end sparkling are some of the best in the Country. Jonas & Vicki nice too
3. Norm Hardie - Best place for lunch while on a wine tour. Great marketer and cheerleader of the County. County Pinot Noir is fantastic.
4. Closson Chase - Beautiful Chardonnays and Keith is an entertaining personality. Beautiful winery.
5. Rosehall Run - Great wines at good value prices. Try to meet Dan. Very passionate winemaker.
Veronica Leonard / September 4, 2013 at 06:05 pm
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While Norm Hardie, Closson Chase, The Old Third and Exultet make great wines, There are others making great wine and at more affordable prices Look a little further Long Dog Winery, Lighthall, Devil's Wishbone, Keinte He, Harwood Estates, Casa Dea, Hillier Creek.
Gary / April 20, 2014 at 03:32 pm
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"This is the other wine region to the more popular Niagara Peninsula" There is another wine region too called "Lake Erie North Shore" which now also encompasses Pelee Island.
PJ Darling / July 7, 2014 at 03:42 pm
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We spent a brilliant couple of weeks in Prince Edward County last year and were fortunate enough to be staying on the doorstep of Half Moon Bay winery. The owners were so helpful as to provide some excellent glasses for our stay at a nearby house but more importantly the wine was a revelation. Both ourselves and guests tried a number of local wines and the Half Moon Bay Pinot Gris was a clear winner to the point where I regularly order cases for family in Toronto. I only wish we could have it sent over to the UK.

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